Sanctuary of St. Besso, Soana Valley (TO)

15 Jan
san besso
CATEGORY Environment and Territory Architecture
PROJECT Santuary of San Besso Soana, Valley (Turin))
CLIENT Monsignor Babando and Don Rogano Foundation
PLACE Soana Valley (Turin)
YEAR 2020
SURFACE40,000 s mq
STATUS completed

On behalf of Monsignor Babando and Don Rogano Foundation, Sertec Engineering Consulting was responsible for the topographical survey of the Sanctuary of  St. Besso and the monolithic rock of Mount Fautenio, a historical site in the Soana Valley, located at an elevation of 2,019 m above sea level within the Gran Paradiso National Park.

The preliminary survey for the creation of scale models of the British artist Tim Handford, was carried aout in collaboration with Gianfranco Del Col, an engineer, and it was performed with a photogrammetric technique using images captured by drone. The photogrammetric survey was completed with celerimetric survey realized with a total station, which is essential in order to improve accuracy in the graphic restitution phase. This last operation was carried out in the studio and allowed the generation of an interactive and measurable 3d model, useful to the sculptor for the realization of scale models.

In order to transport all the necessary equipment and the technicians on site, the client kindly arranged an helicopter flight from the municipality of Valprato.

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the presentation images are graphical elaborations obtained from the cloud of points detected by drone.


The Sanctuary of St. Besso was built in the 17th century, leaning against the rock wall of Mount Fautenio (or Fsauterio, or Fantono, or Fantun), a monolith rock about 60 meters high and 40 meters wide, positioned in the centre of the anphitheater culminating in the summit of the Rosa dei Banchi.

It is a very ancient place of worship, at the foot of a cliff that, according to various sources, might have been the object of devotion as early as pre-Christian times, taking into account the energetic power that was attributed to this monolith rock. The origins and evolutions of such ancestral customs are lost in the mists of time and they do not interrupt but they renew themselves with devotion to the Christian Saint.

According to the tradition Besso was a soldier of the Theban Legion who converted to Christianity and managed to escape the massacre carried out by the Emperor Maximilian’s army in 286 A.D.  He was one of the first evangelizers of the Soana Valley through which he wandered as a pilgrim until he was captured and hurled down Mount Fantono. Besso died but miraculously left his footprint on the rock below where now we can find the sanctuary dedicated to him.

The first reports about the presence of the Christian pilgrimage occur in 1647 after the visit of Monsignor Asinari, who notified the presence of two chapels, one of which is dated 1548. Subsequent expansion works led to the current appearance of the sanctuary that was blessed and inaugurated in 1859 by Monsignor Moreno.